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Promising New Data on Self-delivering RNAi Compounds

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New data from one of the company's discovery stage programs was presented at the latest meeting of the Society of Investigative Dermatology. Their research showed that sd rxRNA compounds developed to target TYR, lead to a visible reduction in pigmentation in cultured melanocytes. In vitro experiments have been carried out using a 3 dimensional tissue culture model of human epidermis that contains melanocytes. The results of these experiments show that sd-rxRNA compounds targeting tyrosinase, in this model, are at least one hundred times more potent than kojic acid, a well-characterized skin lightening agent in reducing the melanin production in melanocytes.

They also presented results on sd-rxRNA compounds targeting MMP1. In this discovery program, multiple potent sd-rxRNAs that target MMP1 have been identified and evaluated. The data displayed show a reduction in MMP1 mRNA levels that corresponds to a similar reduction in MMP1 enzyme activity in HT-1080 cells, a cell line useful for research related to cancer of connective tissues.  In addition, silencing of MMP1 expression in an in vitro scratch assay resulted in reduced migration of A549 cells, a clinically relevant non-small cell lung cancer cell line.  Reduced migration in a scratch assay may indicate a reduction in the invasive nature of the cancer cell due to MMP1 reduction as a result of sd-rxRNA treatment. 

"We are excited to move these discovery programs forward," said Dr. Karen Bulock, Vice President of Research at RXi Pharmaceuticals. She further added, "Not only do these TYR inhibitors have the potential to treat pigmentation disorders, both the TYR and MMP1 compounds may also be useful as adjuvant therapy for diseases such as melanoma and possibly cancer metastasis, respectively."